The Sr. Girls’ Field Hockey team at St. John’s-Kilmarnock School (SJK) has made history. The team won the Conference of Independent Schools (CISAA) championship and took the Gold medal at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Association’s (OFSAA) Field Hockey tournament on November 7th. This is the fourth consecutive OFSAA win for SJK and this marks history as the first time a school has won four straight OFSAA titles in a girl’s team sport.
The CISAA title and OFSAA Gold medal is the result of a great team. “ This year’s team was a team in the truest sense of the word…every single member was called upon during the season, as well as during the OFSAA championship tournament, to contribute, and every single athlete consistently gave her personal best effort”, says Leanne Dietrich, Sr. Field Hockey co-coach.
SJK Eagles recorded a shutout in the final and won six straight games to capture gold, including a 2 – 1 semi-final win over Mississauga’s Applewood Heights Axemen Saturday morning held at Budd Park in Kitchener.
During the OFSAA gold medal game Saturday afternoon, SJK fought hard and came through with a gold medal win of 3 – 0 over the Nelson Lords of Burlington. Nelson was very strong in the first half and posed several serious scoring threats throughout the game. However, SJK demonstrated tremendous discipline in sticking with the game plan and supporting one another every step of the way.
The game was scoreless at half-time. SJK’s Emma Whitehall scored five minutes into the second half, and later Whitehall and Jayne Clarke would score less than 60 seconds apart to win the OFSAA championship.
Although each of the seniors are outstanding field hockey players, they all recognize that the sum of the whole is greater than its parts. “They worked together each and every game to bring out the best in each other and, in turn, in our team. I have not previously seen this level of maturity and selflessness in high school sport”, states coach Dietrich.
The team’s tremendous success this year is bittersweet as five members of the team will graduate from SJK in June. Many of the players have been together for four years or more.
Coaches Leanne Dietrich and Guy Zink have been in charge for each of the victories. For the moment they will savour the win and then begin plans for next year’s field hockey team and drive for a possible fifth provincial championship.